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The Australian 3rd Division was the longest serving division in the Australian Army being raised on 2 February 1916, and remaining on the Order of Battle for 75 years until it was disbanded on 29 June 1991. The division was first formed in World War I, as part of the Australian Imperial Force. It was an infantry division formed in Australia in March 1916 and it saw action on the Western Front. After the war ended and the AIF was demobilised, the 3rd Division was revived and assigned to an Citizens Military Forces (CMF) unit. This division again saw action during World War II, in the New Guinea campaign. After the war the division was again re-raised as a CMF unit, serving through the Cold War as a reserve formation. Following a force structure review in the 1990s, and with the Australian Army moving more towards the Brigade as the focus of field force operations, the division was disbanded.


World War I

The division was first formed on 2 February 1916 in Australia and by July units began to arrive in England. At this time Major General John Monash was appointed as the commander. The division underwent training on Salisbury Plainmarker before moving to Francemarker at the end of 1916 and it subsequently took part in the fighting on the Western Front as part of II Anzac Corps. After the war ended the division was demobilised.


9th Brigade (New South Wales)

10th Brigade (Victoria)

11th Brigade


Field Ambulance

Inter War Years

The division was re-raised in 1921 as a Militia formation. It was made up of units raised in Victoriamarker, including the 4th Brigade, 10th Brigade and 15th Brigade, as well as supporting units.

World War II

During World War II the 3rd Division was one of six Australian divisions (three Militia, three AIF) that were converted to the jungle divisional establishment in 1943 in order to take part in the fighting against the Japanese. Following this reorganisation, units from the division saw action in the New Guinea campaign. Its most notable service was in the Salamaua-Lae and Bougainville campaignsmarker. By the time it was on Bougainvillemarker.

Two soldiers from the division were awarded the Victoria Cross: Corporal Reg Rattey and Private Frank Partridge. Both men were recognised for actions at the Battle of Slater's Knoll, on Bougainville, in 1945.


As a general rule the component brigades in Australian militia divisions changed repeatedly during the Pacific War of 1942–45 and the 3rd Division was no exception. At the start of the war the brigades included the 4th Brigade, 10th Brigade and 15th Brigade. By late in the war the division's Order of Battle was as follows:

7th Infantry Brigade (Queensland)

15th Infantry Brigade (Victoria)

29th Infantry Brigade (Queensland)

Cold War

Following a decision to re-raise the Citizens Military Forces the 3rd Division was reformed on 1 July 1948.

In June 1991 the 3rd Division was finally removed from the Australian Army's Order of Battle.

Commanding Officers

See also


  1. Palazzo 2002, p. 1.
  2. Palazzo 2002, pp. 13–58
  3. Palazzo 2002, p. 62.
  4. Palazzo 2002, p. 113–158.
  5. Palazzo 2002, p. 195.
  6. Disbanded in May 1919.
  7. Disbanded in April 1918.
  8. Disbanded in September 1918
  9. Palazzo 2001, p. 183.
  10. Palazzo 2002, p. 144.
  11. Palazzo 2002, p. 194.


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